Tata Güines and the endless tribute
Imagine a band where the pianist is Ernán López-Nussa and the contrabass is played by Jorge Reyes, alternating with Alain Pérez on the electric bass. Multiplying between the saxophone and the chequeré, Yosvany Terry; on the baritone saxophone Yuniet Lombida; Horacio "El Negro" Hernández on drums.
We continue: in three sets of tumbadoras command Yaroldy Abreu, Adel González and Pedrito Martínez, who at the moment alternates the microphone with Alain and Daymé Arocena. I saw that musical Kaiju in Havana, at the end of a night where there were other great masters on stage. The gap where he entered this world was the Jazz Plaza Festival. The key: the concert "Download for the Tata", filmed to be included in the documentary in production The Fifty, tribute to Tata Güines, one of the greatest Cuban rumberos.
In Paparazzi Havana club music was invoked to the "Hands of Gold", far from his neighborhood of Leguina, that where, according to the chronicles, Federico Aristides Soto was almost a regent and led the processions of the day of Santa Barbara.
Among the best of the day was Ernán López-Nussa with This has no name, one of his anthological themes and in whose original recording they were - as part of that beautiful project called Havana Report - the Tata and Don Pancho Terry. In the dense harmonic framework devised by López-Nussa, Yaroldy Abreu took the seat of Tata, and Yosvany Terry played the role of his father with the chequeré. The miracle was completed by two incombustibles: Enrique Lazaga and Jorge Reyes, aces of the güiro and contrabass respectively.
To honor the "greatest tumbador of the 20th century", José María Vitier interpreted a version of his Habanero Tempo, hand in hand with the always prodigious Adel González on drums. They were an excellent testimony of the fruitful dialogue between piano and percussion, a perfect coupling of two capital columns in the tradition of Cuban music. Enough, if we want to assess the value of that link, remember that even Emiliano Salvador and Gonzalo Rubalcaba began studying percussion, and that ultimately gave them a tremendous sense of independence in the piano.
Alain Pérez was the one who put the most improvisation on the night, the same on the electric bass that he sang with Pedro Fariña. Alain is a complete and uncontrollable show that the same goes to lead the musicians, to play any instrument at hand, to throw in the air: "I did not come alone, I came with the Tata, I did not come alone ..."
When López-Nussa joined the keyboard, they moved with ease between the guaguancó, the tumbaos or brief winks to classics like Gandinga, mondongo and sandunga, the standard Latin that bequeathed Frank Emilio with the very personal interpretation of Tata Güines in the fifth.
The guaguancó properly speaking arrived with the family of the famous tamborero, through a song that greeted his life. Tata Jr. said his name "weighs a lot," and he tried to rumble like his father. For a moment he held the illusion, even used the peculiar touch with his fingernails, but then returned to the traditional mold to accompany Juana Bacallao in their endless songs.
The leviathan sound that I announced at the beginning of the text was formed towards the end of the download, when Andrés Levin, producer of the documentary directed by Juan Pin Vilar, invited that all-star to interpret Break the leather. The song by Yerba Buena-a powerful group that Levin himself founded in New York-was sung by the amazing Daymé Arocena and the versatile Pedrito Martínez, absent for a couple of decades from the Cuban scene, who also spent himself on pure energy and speed one of the best tumbadora solos of the night.
Perhaps the defect of the Download for the Tata was what for many could be considered its greatest attraction: too many geniuses on stage, going one after another to make very good music, yes, but without a clear concept beyond providing material for the film . The dramaturgy will have to be sought in the documentary The Fifty, that hopefully is to the height of the innovative spirit of Tata Güines.
Raúl Medina Orama